The 3 Fundamentals of Recruiting on Facebook

Jul 30, 2012

There’s little left in the discussion of whether Facebook is a good recruiting medium. The real issue is how long it will be until you get started. Nielsen reports that 23% of all online hours are spent on Facebook.

The goal of this article is to define the three basic elements of any social recruiting process.

Effective recruiting always begins with a single question: Who do you want to recruit? Without a clear answer, your results will be muddled. In order to use Facebook (or any social media) as a recruiting tool, you need to have a good idea about:

  • Who you’re recruiting and when you need them (workforce plan)
  • What kind of person who makes a good fit at your company (culture)
  • Who they know/how to find them (networks)
  • What you want the to know about your company (messaging)
  • How available they are as a class (scarcity)

The most important thing to understand about using social media for recruiting is that each channel is a closed ecosystem. Your work on LinkedIn garners no credit on Twitter and so on. Social media is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately?” communications channel. What matters is what you’ve done most recently in the channel that you’ve chosen.

In each case, effective outreach involves the balancing of three elements. The core page, dynamic content (including jobs), and the development of traffic are at the heart of any successful Facebook recruiting initiative. Successful execution of all three elements is required for sustained success. And, each of the three elements require continual and continuous improvement in order to keep the right traffic flowing.

Facebook Pages (the Company Page)

On Facebook, employer branding and effective recruiting both begin with the development of your company page. Most large firms, from General Motors to Apple, have active company pages on Facebook, as do many smaller companies.

If a company already has a page, its main challenge is finding a balance between marketing outreach and recruiting. Sometimes, a separate careers page is the answer (e.g. Accenture or VMware), although this is, in most cases, less desirable. Companies without a page must first set one up and attract fans before jumping headlong into social recruitment.

Dynamic Content

To make your company page the heart of your audience development program, you must produce a steady stream of changing content focused on the people you want to reach. Already desensitized to dull content, the people who come to your page are looking for a good reason to return. Give it to them and they’ll be back.

Your standard issue job posting text isn’t going to work here. Most corporate job descriptions and postings seem designed to bore the reader into submission. But, sexing up your job postings isn’t going to be enough. Even the most dynamic job posting is little better than a cure for insomnia. Your company page must have compelling content that goes beyond the bare minimums of describing jobs and culture.

The core principle of audience development is to give each visitor more than they invested. As long as your visitors feel like they received a net benefit, you will be able to hold on to their attention.

Traffic Development

On Facebook, you have to build your own traffic. While there are an enormous number of users, most have never heard of you. Your job is to discover them and build a relationship that is supported by your content and company page.

There are five types of Facebook users who will see the jobs you post:

  • Employees and friends of employees who visit the page to help it along by liking and sharing content
  • People who come to your page actively looking for a job (including referrals via Facebook’s messaging system)
  • People who come to your page looking for something else but end up seeing the job
  • People who see the job in their timeline (because someone liked or shared a job)
  • People who are responding to Facebook ads you placed to target them

Making your Facebook recruiting efforts successful depends on paying attention to each category.

Conclusion and Next Steps

This overview outlines a simple and straightforward way to think about using Facebook (or any social channel) as a recruiting tool. Simple rarely means easy; in this case it’s just easy to understand. There’s a ton of organizational work, brand competency, and workflow development hidden beneath this simple structure.

I’ve recently written a White Paper that takes these ideas to the next level. You can download it here.

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